R D Larson, Evil Angel
Publisher: Write Words, Inc.
June 26, 2009Length: 202 pages
San Jose, January 10, Noon
“Hurry up, Porter. Pass on the right, for God’s sake. I’m going to miss his plane if you don’t move your ass.” Terri always swore in front of Porter, although that wasn’t his real name. It was something stupid, like Ike or Jake. But Daddy and his whole family had always called their drivers Porter.
“Come on, you old goat. Move this car.”
“Can’t, Miss. Garbage truck.”
“You are going to catch total hell if I miss that plane.” Terri pulled her long deep red coat tighter against her body.” Get the lead out of it, Porter.”
“Oh, my God, you make me sick!” She flung open the door, and dashed out into the traffic between a bus and a truck. As a couple was just getting out of a cab, Terri pushed them aside to jump in.
“Airport, now!” The cabby knew the business end of life, just like he knew rich witch in a rush. Knowing his license was at risk, he hit it. Up on the curb at the handicap ramp, around a stalled car, down a dirty alley, a bucking turn onto the highway, lane changes in all directions; in movie action maneuvers, they sped toward the airport.
The entry road was jammed, too, so the cabby drove up on the curb, across the grass and around the mess. Terri reached into the tiny pocket in her short denim skirt and pulled out a wad of money. Peeling free a couple of bills, easily two hundred dollars, she tossed them over the seat.
As the cab jerked to a stop Terri was already out the door in a flash of pale legs, a long red coat running in heels, as she hit the pavement and blasted through the doors. Taking the stairs two at a time instead of the escalator, she plunged headlong into the crowd. Running across the carpet toward Gate 32, she could see the door was closed.
“No, no. Oh, no, no. Please, oh, no.” She rushed to the tube that carried the passengers on board, but it was already locked.
“Stop that plane now!” Terri shouted at the gate steward who just looked at her. His gaze took in the tiny denim skirt under the elegant coat.
“Loaded. Leaving on schedule,” he said in a low voice. His face became strained as he grasped the edges of the podium.
“Stop it, I tell you!”
“It’s already on its runway.”
She rushed to the window as the plane taxied down away from her. Hands and face pressed against the thick glass, Terri tried to meld herself to the plane. Blood red nails clawed at the glass as she slowly slumped to her knees while the plane moved into position for takeoff. Only her lips moved. As she sank to the floor the steward picked up the phone to call security.
She was a red scream on the perpetual-blue carpet. Her coat pooled around her and the red nails scraped uselessly against the glass. Her whispered cry of no, no had risen to become shriek of animal pain and other travelers were looking, stopping even. One man asked her if he could help, carefully stepping over and around the thrashing, exposed legs.
The minute the two security guards arrived, before they stepped off the cart, the call was made. They could see that medical help was immediately needed. Moving toward Terri, they tried to restrain her as she rose to lunge against the glass window again and again just as the plane became airborne. A ripping, guttural cry erupted from her red lips.
The emergency personnel arrived. They first tried to lay her on the gurney, but to no avail. Losing her body fluids, she continually kept up the frantic rhythmic movements. The wailing cry cut through every dignity, every reserve of each observer. Suddenly, tossing a blanket around her, pulling it snug, they were able to curtail most of her movements. Finally, in physical restraints, she was whisked down the corridors under the neon overheads and out to the waiting ambulance.
The ER room was a hubbub of various and gory nightmares in broad daylight. The line between life and death came before an obvious drug case, one nurse told another. It was all just a matter of priority, she said as they swiftly cut the red coat away from Terri; the red shoes were long lost. They followed with a cutting away of the skirt and tee shirt as well. It was impossible to get a gown on her so they draped a white blanket over the top of the gurney, covering restraining straps and the shreds of clothing still remaining on Terri’s body. She was an aberration in activity. Her cries eclipsed the other sounds of pain.
Dr. Weiss was called after more than two hours. Forty minutes later, he looked down at the thrashing, screeching woman and ordered a sedative for her.
“She a user, doctor? She’s been this way ever since they brought her in; said it happened at the airport,” the nurse said.
“Don’t even know her; only just now saw her chart. She’s Loadstone’s. Boy, look at that whack on the side of her head.” Dr. Weiss waited for the sedative to work on Terri; looking over the nurse’s report, he noticed pulse and blood pressure elevations. Weiss turned again to look at the red-haired woman who showed no sign of relaxing. Tiny cracks had opened in her dried lips and little lines of blood had filled them; her eyes were glassy. Her body still tortured itself and her red mouth still howled.
Against his usual, conservative procedure, he ordered another injection. She simply wasn’t responding as yet. He was beginning to think that she’d taken PCP or something similar so he ordered a blood test. The nurse had much more trouble drawing blood than giving an injection. The nurse swabbed the torn lips with glycerin. Weiss shook off a feeling of helplessness as ten, fifteen minutes passed.
Then, slowly, Terri ended her twitching and the scream became a low moan. He looked at her pupils with his penlight, again wondering if he should call Loadstone in Palm Springs.
Instead, he called Monica Hamilton. She answered on the first ring, saying she’d be there within a few minutes, after he’d told what had happened. Half an hour later, he was paged just as he was checking the patient again. So he went down to reception, concerned with how to ease the family of the girl in ER.
He glanced at the people milling around in the area. The woman in green silk must be the mother; the close resemblance between the patient and the woman was apparent. He walked toward her. She was reading a popular weekly magazine. She looked up as he stopped in front of her.
“Weiss?” Monica, handsome, groomed, extended a dry hand to the large, overweight psychiatrist, as she stood slowly.
“Yes, yes.” Weiss took her hand, trying to offer medical empathy in the gesture.
“So?” Monica took a drag of her cigarette.
“Well, Terri has contusions, abrasions and a possible concussion. She, ah, well, inflicted them to herself at the airport. Her blood pressure and pulse are higher than I like to see in such a young person.” He paused. Then looking directly at her, he said, “Has she been using drugs?”
“No. Didn’t you speak to Dr. Loadstone? What’s his opinion?” Monica said, her eyes dark and intense.
“I was unable to reach him.” Weiss couldn’t believe his own lie. How could he lie? “Please tell me if she’s been using illegal drugs. If you know about it.”
“No, I said.”
“I want to keep her overnight to observe her for damage from the concussion and to monitor her pulse and BP. Then, tomorrow I’d like to transfer her to a private facility, so she might get some intense care. She was very violent and self-abusive, very disturbed,” Weiss said. He stood, feet apart, sweat collecting at the base of his spine.
“Oh, really? I think not. Did you get her to sleep? Take two shots?” At his nod, she went on, speaking rapidly. “My little girl is fine; her husband has been difficult lately. I’ll inform him of this new situation. We don’t do asylums in this family. She’s fine; Porter will pick her up tomorrow, in the early afternoon.”
“Mrs. Hamilton, she needs extra... well, have you ever noticed these violent attacks before? I know how much you love your daughter and want to help her.” Weiss said.
“Stop that phony psychiatric bullshit with me. Just have her ready for Porter by one o’clock.” Stepping around his mass, she walked quickly away.
He stood there. Should have called Loadstone. Money always talks. Poor little rich kid is a cliché. And her own mother didn’t even want to see her. He shook his head.
He couldn’t stand it personally so after leaving a message for Loadstone, he went up to room 404 to see his patient again. He looked down at Terri’s bruised, scratched face as it still flickered in medicated sleep. He wondered what twilight terrors raced across her wounded mind. He could tell the sedative would wear off before dark so he ordered an additional injection for seven o’clock and again at one o’clock if the patient was agitated.
Leaving the hospital, Dr. Weiss walked to doctors’ parking area. His ponderous body moved slowly in the shimmering California light.
Just as he was trying yet again to adjust the seat belt of the new car he’d promised to love, the cellular rang.
“Dr. Weiss here.”
“Tom? John, returning your call. What the hell’s wrong with you? I’ve barely left. How hard is it to manage Monica Hamilton? Just give her what she wants.” John Loadstone said, annoyed.
“She called you?” Weiss said.
“Known her for years. Harold was in cardiology. I don’t need this, Tom.” The voice was harsh, unforgiving even. Weiss clenched the leather steering wheel.
“Well, John, this girl, Terri, lost it at the airport... gave herself a bonk on the bean. I mean, she was out of control for hours.” Weiss expected some answers.
“Oh, hell, she’s a little high-strung, okay? Ran over her boyfriend in high school; messed her up a bit. But she’s okay. Does fine with meds; read her chart. Make Monica happy and I’ll be happy. See you.” The phones connecting them died.
Tom Weiss sat in his dark car for a long moment before the engine awoke with a soft purr. The muted interior lights fell across the good doctor’s creased and sweaty face as he slowly backed out.
At one o’clock sharp the next day, Porter was wheeling a drowsy Terri toward the big burgundy car. Weiss had made sure she was medicated enough to give her some rest. It was the least he could do, he muttered to himself. It was out of his control now. Let somebody else take the responsibility.
Copyright © 2009 by R D Larson